Old 1E player now getting back into 5E. What are HIT DICE? I understand hit points and a 3rd level player has rolled 3 times for HP ( I do like the MAX at first level and then roll option) but what are Hit dice and why do they matter?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Have you read either the 5e PHB or even the free Basic PDF? It is explained in both, let us know if you read that and have subsequent questions. (Do you remember Hit Dice from 1e? It shouldn't be an entirely new term for you...) \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jun 16, 2015 at 13:20
  • \$\begingroup\$ Similar question: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/47205/… \$\endgroup\$
    – Sandwich
    Jun 16, 2015 at 13:49
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    \$\begingroup\$ Related, but not convinced it's a duplicate: rpg.stackexchange.com/questions/44516/… \$\endgroup\$
    – GamerJosh
    Jun 16, 2015 at 14:14
  • \$\begingroup\$ BobG: dnd.wizards.com/articles/features/basicrules___ The basic rules spell it out, located at the link. If you read p 7 of basic rules (player) and p 3 of basic rules (DM) and still need clarification, you may be able to refine the question. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 16, 2015 at 16:35
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    \$\begingroup\$ Closing this for clarification. Hit Dice are in 1e and you know what they mean there right? Have you at all looked at what they mean in 5e or did you just hear someone use the term? What exactly do you know and what exactly are you unclear on? \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jun 16, 2015 at 17:04

1 Answer 1


Hit Points are a pool of damage-soaking ability: damage deducts Hit Points from your total until you are dead. Healing restores Hit Points to the pool.

Hit Dice are how you get Hit Points. Hit Dice are rolled at each level, and your value on the roll is how many Hit Points you gain (plus whatever applicable bonuses). Thus, the total number of Hit Dice you have is equivalent to your Level.

The term “Hit Dice” is used instead of “Level” because monsters often don’t really have levels, because they have no classes. They still have Hit Dice, though, so Hit Dice is a way of referring to level for both players and monsters.

Many things in 5e scale with your Hit Dice – that is, with your level. One of the most important of these is the healing you receive during a short rest: you can “spend” Hit Dice to heal (rolling the Hit Die + your Constitution modifier, and receiving that much healing), which you slowly regain (namely, half your total Hit Dice are recovered with each long rest).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Rolling hit dice during short rests to recover HP might also be worth mentioning here. \$\endgroup\$
    – Miniman
    Jun 16, 2015 at 13:24
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Miniman Maybe, but ultimately HD are used for a lot of things, and that gets away from just a simple definition/explanation of why things are so. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 16, 2015 at 13:26
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    \$\begingroup\$ @mxyzplk Gut reaction, but this seemed like a reasonable source of confusion. It seemed harmless to me to answer it, and it seemed like it would be helpful not just to this user but potentially future users. I disagree that this is the same situation. I have actually upvoted the question, for that matter. \$\endgroup\$
    – KRyan
    Jun 16, 2015 at 13:57
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    \$\begingroup\$ You've explained the part of hit dice that they say they understand in the question. The other major use of hit dice is healing, and since it's exactly what hit dice are in 5e that they're not in 1e, that seems to be far more important. \$\endgroup\$ Jun 16, 2015 at 15:37
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    \$\begingroup\$ "Hit Dice" is a term used in 1e for the exact purpose described here and should be very familiar to a 1e player. In fact, given that, I'm going to close this question as unclear \$\endgroup\$
    – mxyzplk
    Jun 16, 2015 at 17:03

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